Introducing: Susan Philpott

Say hello to the authors of the 2015 Vancouver Writers Fest! Each week in August - October, we'll be introducing you to three of our Festival authors with a blog post filled with interesting facts about the author and their upcoming book. Read all about them, buy their book and then come see them at the Festival in the fall. Enjoy!

SUSAN PHILPOTT
ONTARIO, EVENTS 72 "An Unlikely Path" and 76 "Women in Peril"

Susan Philpott first fell in love with crime fiction as a child reading the Nancy Drew series but didn’t begin writing seriously until much later in life. Prior to becoming a novelist, Philpott completed a master’s degree in both science and social work. She has worked as a university teaching assistant, zookeeper and mental health professional. Blown Red, Philpott’s first novel, is a thriller about a woman who is recruited to work for a shadowy underground network dedicated to helping women in danger. Her website is http://susancphilpott.com/ and you can find her on Twitter as @susanphilpott1


From Zookeeper to Social Worker to Novelist: After graduating with a Masters Degree in Zoology, Philpott worked at the Toronto Metro Zoo and helped care for tigers, orangutans, lemurs and rhinos. When she needed a change, she pursued her second Masters Degree—this time in social work—and began to work with women who suffered from mental illnesses. Philpott notes the “courage, grace and determination with which these women dealt with mental illness;” however, she also noticed that their voices were not being heard and their stories left untold.  Thus, Philpott’s “kick ass” protagonist Signy Shepard was born. Read on.

Life-long Mystery and Crime Fan: As a child, Philpott would emulate Nancy Drew by carrying out ‘investigations’ in her own neighbourhood, jotting down her findings in a “series of ultra-secret spy books.” As a teen and then an adult, her love of mystery novels continued, and the characters were her constant companions: “Kinsey Millhone, Kay Scarpetta and Temperance Brennan kept me on the edge of my seat through the gruelling years of changing diapers, parent/teacher meetings and long commutes to work.” Read on.

New Beginnings and Radical Change: Philpott’s debut novel, Blown Red, is about women in crisis situations. To mark the publishing of her book, she compiled a reading list of books about women experiencing radical change. Highlights include Elizabeth Hay, Susanna Moodie and Margaret Atwood. Learn what books Philpott has been reading and the inspirations for her novel here

On Becoming a Writer Later in Life: When Philpott set out to write her first novel, she worried that, as a woman over 50, she had “nothing to say.” However, she was inspired by the work of Elizabeth George, a mystery writer who began to write in her mid-thirties and went on to publish 17 books. Reading about George led Philpott to wonder if she too was a writer at heart, and ultimately inspired her to begin her own writing journey. Read on.

Coming to a TV Near You: Philpott recently announced that the rights to Blown Red had been sold to NBC and they will be producing a pilot episode for a series based on the book called, The Line. More info TBA.